Third win in row for Ro­ma­nia’s BCR in TOP 100 banks rank­ing

Top 100 See - - Top 100 Banks - By Ina Ivanova

Ro­ma­nia’s Banca Comer­ciala Ro­mana (BCR) emerged again as the best-per­form­ing lender in terms of as­sets in the TOP 100 banks rank­ing for 2012, re­tain­ing its num­ber one po­si­tion for a third con­sec­u­tive year. Over­all, 2012 saw no reshuf­fle in the top-five and all of them were suc­cess­ful in keep­ing the po­si­tions they had se­cured the pre­vi­ous year. Only three banks in the top 10 ex­pe­ri­enced a de­cline in as­sets in 2012, in­clud­ing the leader BCR. On the earn­ings front all banks but three – BCR, Nova Ljubl­jan­ska Banka (NLB) at num­ber three and BRD – Groupe So­ci­ete Gen­erale (BRD) at num­ber four – suf­fered losses in the pe­riod.

Around 35% of the banks that made it to the list ex­ited 2012 with a higher profit, against 40% the pre­vi­ous year. The largest net profit in the TOP 100 banks rank­ing was 117.6 mil­lion euro, while the most sub­stan­tial loss was 304.9 mil­lion euro.

The bank that se­cured the top spot in the league ta­ble, BCR, ended 2012 with to­tal as­sets of 15.926 bil­lion euro, down 4.54% on the year. The lender reg­is­tered a hefty loss of 274.3 mil­lion euro after post­ing a profit of 56.7 mil­lion euro in 2011. Its owner, Aus­tria's Erste Group, put the dis­ap­point­ing re­sult down to the ad­verse eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, the high pro­vi­sion­ing re­quire­ments that prompted an in­crease in risk cov­er­age costs and the rise in the unit’s non-per­form­ing loans cov­er­age ra­tio to 58.6% as of end-De­cem­ber 2012 ver­sus 50.1% at end-2011.

Croa­tia’s Za­gre­backa Banka (ZABA) fin­ished sec­ond again, ex­it­ing the year with 13.801 bil­lion euro in as­sets. ZABA was also the lender with the high­est net profit among the TOP 100 banks for a third year run­ning, at 117.6 mil­lion eu­ros. The re­sult was, how­ever, lower than the profit of 174.7 mil­lion euro seen in 2011. The Croa­t­ian unit of Italy’s UniCredit at­trib­uted the solid fi­nan­cial re­sult to its ef­forts in im­prov­ing cost and process ef­fi­ciency and to its suc­cess in pre­serv­ing its credit port­fo­lio qual­ity.

Third from the top in the rank­ing was NLB, Slove­nia’s big­gest lender. The bank had as­sets of 11.487 bil­lion euro, down 11.5%, while its net loss widened to 304.9 mil­lion euro from 233.2 mil­lion euro in 2011. Ac­cord­ing to NLB, its 2012 per­for­mance was chiefly af­fected by the high vol­ume of im­pair­ments and the gap in pro­vi­sions on non-per­form­ing loans that hurt its bot­tom line. The bank had warned ear­lier its losses would most likely con­tinue into 2013 be­cause of the high and still ris­ing num­ber of bad loans since the econ­omy col­lapsed in 2009.

Ro­ma­nian bank BRD, the lo­cal arm of French banking group So­ci­ete Gen­erale, re­tained its fourth place in the rank­ing with as­sets of 10.821 bil­lion euro. Croa­tia’s Privredna Banka Za­greb com­pleted the top five, re­port­ing some 9.0 bil­lion euro in as­sets for 2012.

The TOP 100 banks rank­ing saw 11 new sec­tor play­ers that mainly filled the bot­tom places of the chart. The one that made the most im­pres­sive en­try was Ser­bia’s Banka Postan­ska Ste­dion­ica AD Beograd, which landed the 80th po­si­tion.

Bul­gar­ian banks dom­i­nated the rank­ing with 21 lo­cal len­ders mak­ing the cut, leav­ing last year’s win­ner, Ro­ma­nia, third with 11 en­tries. Slove­nia was the run­ner-up with 17 len­ders in the chart, keep­ing the num­ber of en­tries it had last year and mov­ing one spot up in the rank­ing.

Ser­bia had 16 len­ders in the chart, un­changed from 2011. Croa­tia was rep­re­sented by 10 banks, fol­lowed by Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina with nine. Al­ba­nia came next with seven en­tries, or two more than the pre­vi­ous year. Mace­do­nia fol­lowed with four len­ders against three a year ear­lier, while Moldova had three ver­sus two in 2011. The num­ber of Mon­tene­gro-based banks on the list re­mained flat at two.

The big­gest win­ner in this year's edi­tion of the TOP 100 banks chart was the Bul­gar­ian branch of Greek lender Al­pha Bank, which

climbed 37 po­si­tions up to the 35th spot. The bank man­aged to cut its loss to 9.9 mil­lion euro from 22.5 mil­lion euro a year ear­lier and its as­sets more than dou­bled to 1.89 bil­lion euro in 2012. Two Ro­ma­nian banks, Banca Comer­ciala Carpat­ica and OTP Bank Ro­ma­nia, scored the sec­ond-strong­est progress in the rank­ing, each go­ing 17 spots up to the 57th and 59th place, re­spec­tively.

There were sev­eral len­ders that lost some po­si­tions in the rank­ing, but the de­clines recorded were not that steep. Th­ese were Slove­nian len­ders Abanka Vipa and Probanka, which both lost two spots and dipped to the 18th and 60th place, re­spec­tively. Croa­t­ian Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank filled the 13th place after be­ing ranked 11th in 2011 and Ser­bian Raif­feisen Banka slid two places to the 42nd po­si­tion.

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